South Carolina Focus

SC Focus is a regular feature of South Carolina Public Radio.  As its name suggests, the segment focuses on the Palmetto State and its people.  It covers a wide variety of subjects, from South Carolina's war veterans to scientists, musicians and other topics, both serious and whimsical.  SC Focus can be heard at various times throughout the week during our news program on all South Carolina Public Radio stations.

Ways to Connect

Walks Aim to Highlight Suicide Prevention

Oct 5, 2018
AFSP

Suicide is on the rise in nearly every state (Nevada is the exception), the 10th leading cause of death both in South Carolina and nationally, and for ages 15-34, the second leading cause of death in both state and nation.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that suicide is up a distressing 38 percent in the Palmetto State.  Though it’s too early to know just why the rate is climbing so high, Helen Pridgen, South Carolina Area Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, listed some reasons that might suggest an explanation.  Though most people who die by

Georgetown Braces for Florence's Final Stop

Sep 28, 2018

The city of Georgetown may get a bit of a reprieve as Hurricane’s Florence’s flood waters make a final push before heading out to sea.  Georgetown County officials now say an updated flood anticipation map from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources shows a much improved forecast and is encouraging people who have evacuated to take a look and decide if it’s safe to return. That certainly was not the case a couple of days ago.

Debbie Long and Morgan Sellers embrace as the street quickly floods
Victoria Hansen

The Waccamaw River has yet to crest and people who fled Conway before Hurricane Florence and returned are now evacuating, either on their own or being forced to go.

Debbie Long helped her mother-in-law move out of a neighborhood east of town near Crabtree Swamp just days before the National Guard moved in, pulling people from their homes.  So how high was the water?

“I don’t know,” she said.  “The fire ants are doing their thing where they float and if you get close to them they will swim to you.  I’ve already been bitten.”

South Carolina writer Mary Alice Monroe is one of the many Palmetto State authors and poets to be featured in the new ETV series "By the River," which can be seen Thursday nights at 8 p.m. beginning Sept. 13.
Courtesy Mary Alice Monroe

South Carolina is blessed with gifted writers. To celebrate this gift, a new program, “By the River,” premieres on ETV Thursday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. Produced by ETV and USC-Beaufort, the show will feature in-depth conversations with Palmetto State authors and poets set against the backdrop of the Beaufort River. 

A sign for the Lumber river in Nichols, SC.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

Flooding will be a major concern for parts of South Carolina, possibly during and after Hurricane Florence makes landfall. The town of Nichols, in Marion county, experienced severe flooding in 2016 during the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Disaster Recovery Coordinator Michaela Hufford shares what the town is doing to prepare for Hurricane Florence.

"Everyone, rightfully so, is nervous about it. It is a really big storm and a lot of newscasters are comparing it to Hugo," Hufford said.

This stadium is the centerpiece of a re-vitalized North Augusta riverfront.
City of North Augusta, SC

This summer thousands of people have attended home games of the Augusta Green-Jackets, Augusta Georgia’s minor league baseball.  The team plays in a brand new stadium, SRP Park.  The stadium however is located across the Savannah River in South Carolina in the City of North Augusta.  The new, state-of-the-art stadium is the centerpiece of a re-vitalized North Augusta along its riverfront.

North Augusta is just one of a number of smaller cities in the state bringing their downtowns to life by creating new work, living, and play spaces and strengthening their local tax bases.

Retired Rear Admiral Ann Phillips U.S. Navy talks about the impact of climate change on the military
Victoria Hansen

Three years of back to back hurricanes and record floods have left many across the Lowcountry flood weary.  Now the height of hurricane season is here.  Scientists say climate change is to blame for increased flooding, creating more intense storms and rising sea levels.  But it’s not just coastal homeowners who are worried.  Some military leaders warn climate change is a threat to national security.

Vanessa Wyche
http://women.nasa.gov / NASA

NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Director Mark Geyer recenly announced that Vanessa Wyche was thethe next deputy director of JSC in Houston.

Wyche is a native on Conway and a graduate of Clemson University. As Deputy Director, she will assist Geyer in leading one of NASA’s largest installations (JSC has nearly 10,000 civil service and contractor employees – including those at White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico). It also has a broad range of human spaceflight activities. Wyche talks with South Carolina Public Radio about current and future projects JSC is working.

S.C. farmers are expecting a bumper soybean crop this year.  However the global trade war has caused a 20 percent drop in expected prices.
SC Department of Agriculture

With the November elections just two months away, business leaders and political candidates are juggling the economic and political realities of the growing global trade war.  South Carolina is one of three states in the country expected to be most affected by new tariffs on imports and exports.

Marsh Tackies Make a Come Back on Dafuskie Island

Sep 4, 2018
Estelita is the first Marsh Tacky foal born on Dafuskie Island in decades
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

With her windows rolled down, Erica Veit gives me a lift  at the ferry boat landing on Dafuskie Island.  The other passengers, mostly tourists, scramble for golf carts.  There are few paved roads and no grocery store, hospital or police.  The hour long ride from Hilton Head Island was a sign.  This place is remote and intriguing.

Crowds gather at the Columbia Convention Center for a previous Soda City Comic Con.
www.sodacitycomiccon.com

In 2011, Donald Brock, Jr. found an old comic book on a shelf,  inside one of his father's properties. "I looked at it. It look reasonably old."

Brock said, the conditons in the warehouse were not that great, so "I swiped it and said I would go online and see if its worth anything."

File
Helena Lopes from Pexels

As Baby Boomers retire, their children, the Millennial generation, are coming into the workplace, behind the in-between Generation X.  University of South Carolina Sociology Professor Rob Ployhart says millennials differ from their predecessors in some key ways:  they are the first generation to grow up completely in the digital age, and they expect the companies they work for to be technologically savvy.  Certain ideas about millennials picture them as spoiled, self-obsessed techno-nerds that don’t want to work normal hours and need playtime at work, as evidenced by giant tech companies li

Photographing Veterans after Capturing Combat

Aug 21, 2018
Elizabeth Barker Johnson holds her 1943 Army portrait
Veterans Portrait Project images by Stacy L. Pearsall

Stacy Pearsall's office is tucked away in an upstairs bedroom of her Charleston area home.  Her service dog Charlie checks in occasionally, tail wagging, making sure she's alright.  Above her desk, hangs a collection of spoons; small, some silver, simple and ornate.  Stacy says she handpicked them for a loved one during her travels overseas, someone who has since passed away.  They reflect her love of service and a discerning eye.

File photo: Soccer balls
Joe Shlabotnik [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Evidence of soccer’s enormous growth in America is the September kickoff of the inaugural season of the Midlands’ new semi-pro soccer team, the Soda City Football Club.  It’s the third team in the state in the 170-plus team United Premier Soccer League, joining Spartanburg and Charleston.  Coach and co-owner Patrick Burnette says soccer is exploding in the U.S., and thanks to small but dedicated clubs around the state, the talent pool is strong.  Player Hunter Haynes says it’s all he’s ever wanted to do, and like teammate Nestor Jaramillo (and the rest of the team, for that matter), he aspi

Richland Library's Tony Tallent displays a newly-dispensed short story from one of three new short story dispensers at the library's main branch in downtown Columbia.
Clayton Sears

During its recent Learn Freely Fest, Richland Library launched newly-acquired short story dispensers for the public to try. The sleek, black and organge device allows people to select a one, three or five minute story to print. Richland Library is one of only four libraries across the country to receive the dispensers. Its a part of a program called Fostering Creative Community Connections, a project to promote reading; community engagement; library programs and services; and creative expression from diverse writers.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z will perform at Williams-Brice stadium on August 21 as part of their On the Run II Tour.
Wikimedia Commons

August 21 will bring the first concert in five years to Columbia’s Williams-Brice Stadium  when Beyoncé and Jay-Z make a stop on their On the Run II Tour.

For Columbia local and Beyoncé superfan Merrell Johnson, this is an especially big event.

V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3 Aerial View, Jan. 2017.
SCANA

It was the first week of August, 2017 when then SCANA and SCE&G CEO Kevin Marsh told state regulators that the $9 Billion V.C. Summer Nuclear Reactor project was being scrapped before it could produce a single kilowatt of power. The magnitude of the action set off a tumultuous year that has left the futures of SCE&G and its partner in the project, state owned utility Santee-Cooper in doubt.

There are more than 400 different license plate designs for autos in South Carolina.  They range from the standard "While I Breathe I Hope" tags to include colleges, veterans, Parrotheads and vanity plates like this one.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Most, if not all, states offer a variety of license tags for automobiles. South Carolina offers more than 400, many to support causes or organizations, from colleges to gold star families, or wildlife and habitats, from trees to turkeys and elk. Some are offered out of support and respect, such as veterans or POWs. Some are more whimsical features of South Carolina culture, like the shag dance, or even Parrotheads, the fanatical followers of Jimmy Buffett.

U.S. Air Force/Pascual Flores

For the past couple of months a group of state regulators, utility executives, representatives of the state’s fledgling solar energy industry, and environmentalists have been meeting in Columbia trying to come together on a new plan that could determine the future of residential solar energy use in the state.

Korean War Veterans Monument at Memorial Park in Columbia, SC
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

Over 100 soldiers from South Carolina are still missing and unaccounted for, from the Korean War. July 27 marks the 65th anniversary of the armistice that ended the war. The war started in June of 1950 and over the span of three years, more than 36,000 American soldiers were killed. Friday, remains believed to be of 55 US troops killed during the War, were returned to the United States by North Korea.

Clyde Gore, Jr. is director of the new legal clinic. He said the work done at the clinic can make a big change in the life of a veteran.
Clayton Sears/SC Public Radio

The Department of Veterans Affairs has identified legal services as one of the most significant unmet needs of homeless and poor veterans. The University of South Carolina's School of Law recently opened a free, veterans legal clinic to address this demand.

 

 

The clinic is located on the third floor of the law school, open from 9am to 5pm weekdays and follows the university's holiday schedule. Walk-ins are welcome, but director Clyde Gore, Jr. recommends making an appointment.

A four-year journey: Jake and Sherry Jaco inside the Olympia Mill school during the construction phase of the museum
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

Columbia has a rich history of being a cotton/textile mill town. The Olympia and Granby Mills are located just outside of the downtown area, next to the Congaree river. Like many places in Columbia, this historic area is growing. The Olympia-Granby Historical Foundation was created in 2014 to promote activities within the Olympia and Granby Mill Villages. Since then, the group has also worked  to bring new life to the building that served as the one-room, Olympia School. Foundation members Sherry and Jake Jaco talk about their four-year journey to preserve history.

The Future of Crab Bank; A Coastal Bird Sanctuary

Jul 24, 2018
The remnants of Crab Bank at the entrance of Mount Pleasant's Shem Creek
David Quick

Chris Crolley wears a long, grey, shirt only those who work in the sun instinctively know to wear.  His blue eyes reflect some of the button-up’s hue, as he looks out beneath his worn, woven hat with a small, winged pin.  He knows what makes tourists and locals alike go “ahhh”.  He’s been giving tours of Mount Pleasant’s Shem Creek for 30 years.

USC sleep specialist Dr. Antoinette Rutherford says there's a cure for everyone who snores - it's just a matter of finding the right method for each individual.
Nick Wilkes [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Snoring can ruin the sleep of millions of South Carolinians, and it doesn’t do the snorer any good, either.  Sleep expert Dr. Robert Puchalski says vibrations in the throat cause snoring, and by the passing of air through a tight space in the upper airway, in the way that wind instruments create sound.  At least half of people snore, according to USC sleep specialist Dr.

hoto from the University of South Carolina's Motion Image Research Collection.
Photo from the University of South Carolina's Motion Image Research Collection.

At the University of South Carolina, the Moving Image Research Collection has established a reputation as one of the top film archives in the country. Curator Greg Wilsbacher says Newsfilm Collections at USC has received some notable donations over the years—including footage from the United States Marine Corps. But it all started with a donation in 1980 from the Fox Corporation, containing countless hours of newsreels and outtakes from the turn of the 20th Century.

FBI Will Use Another Database For Gun Background Checks

Jul 17, 2018
FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is planning a major change to its gun background check system in an effort to keep  more weapons out of the wrong hands.   

Examiners will be given access to a large, previously untapped database of more than 400 million records as they determine when gun purchases can go through nationwide.  But for the survivors and victims’ families in a Charleston, South Carolina church massacre, the change did not come soon enough.

If a black cat crosses your path on Friday the 13th - or any other day - don't worry, says USC sociology professor Barry Markovsky. There is no truth to any superstitions about Friday the 13th, black cats or any other traditional "bad luck" myths.
Pauline Havard [CC0 1.0] via Pixabay

Of the various superstitions people are subject to, one only manifests itself up to three times a year: Friday the 13th.

These vats at Columbia microbrewery Hunter Gatherer yield locally crafted beer popular with Midlands beer connoisseurs.
Clay Sears/SC Public Radio

Small scale brewing operations like River Rat and Hunter Gatherer in Columbia are representative of the growing craft beer industry in South Carolina and nationwide. For this story we spoke with Kevin Varner, founder of Hunter Gatherer Brewing, about the laws he helped pass back in 1995 that gave brewers more freedom to run their operations. We also sat down with River Rat brewmaster Drew Walker, who talked about how brewers work to stay on top of such a rapidly changing industry.

Remembering Friendship Nine Member James Wells

Jul 10, 2018
Friendship Nine member James Wells
SCETV

57 years ago, nine young African-American students of Friendship Junior College in Rock Hill were arrested for attempting to desegregate the all-white lunch counter at the McCrory's variety store. One of those students was James Wells. He died Sunday, July 8th in his hometown of Rock Hill. The decision Wells and the other young protesters made, following their arrests, would help shape the civil rights movement throughout the South. 

Members of a mission team from Chapin United Methodist Church (Chapin UMC) expected to fly back to the United States Monday after being delayed in Haiti for two days because of protests, have safely made it to the airport in Port Au Prince. Jody Flowers is lead pastor of the Lexington County church. Monday morning he said they were cautiously optimistic about the news of the group leaving the country.

Pages